EDS denies claims Chennai imports will replace local developers

EDS denies claims Chennai imports will replace local developers

EDS Australia has denied claims it plans to replace 150 local systems developers with labour sourced from Chennai, India.

A memo obtained by ARN sister publication Computerworld this week claims EDS will replace developers from the EDS Life Systems group supporting the Commonwealth Bank of Australia's (CBA) life insurance platforms as part of a regional cost-cutting exercise.

According to an EDS AS/400 platform developer, who declined to be named, senior executives briefed around 400 developers on the company's management objectives for the next 12 months which include plans to replace local jobs with Indian labour.

"This plan is to take immediate effect with the first batch of Indian resources arriving in Sydney next week to begin systems training, and has to be up and running no later than December 31, 2001," the developer said citing details from EDS' new management objectives.

He said the CBA, which outsourced its IT to EDS as part of a $6.8 billion outsourcing agreement, supported the plan as a cost-savings exercise.

CBA was unavailable for comment but the developer said EDS plans to save a third of daily operating costs through the alleged overseas recruitment drive.

Scott Eyre, EDS Australia's executive general manager for the Sydney Solutions Centre (Asia Pacific), called the developer's litany of claims "unfounded".

"We're not hiring new people in India and we're not moving any local people offshore; I will hire in India if I need to and when we move any work around there," he said.

Eyre was reluctant to comment on the company's target for cost savings over the next year, claiming commercial sensitivity.

He said staff were often relocated depending on contract wins; he pointed to new outsourcing deals with the Australian Taxation Office and Customs Department which have led to the company hiring 30 new staff, based in Canberra. Australian staff numbers, Eyre said, have grown from 3700 employees to 5000 over the last year.

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